ENTERING AND LEAVING ECUADOR: Ecuadorian authorities require a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date of your arrival in Ecuador. Visas are not required for U.S. and Canadian citizens. Tourist cards are prepared by your arriving airline. At the time of writing, there is a $40.80 departure tax in Ecuador, but this is rolled into the air ticket price by most airlines.
MAPS AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view maps of Ecuador in the University of Texas series here. You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information here, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Ecuador here.
HEALTH: The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the Centers for Disease Control’s Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list. Specific vaccinations and proof thereof may be required to enter the country. For entry and exit information please visit the U.S. State Department’s website at http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.htm. We strongly recommend contacting your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure.
Please note that La Selva is an isolated lodge. There are no local doctors, and emergency evacuation procedures are certain to be slow and expensive. Please be sure you are in good physical condition before scheduling this trip.
PACE OF THE TOUR: The condition of the trails at La Selva varies. Some are flat, others are hilly. When they’re dry, the trails are not difficult, although some of the boardwalks and bridges can be a little hazardous. When the trails are wet, they can be slippery and difficult. February is a drier period here, and we hope for a visit with minimal rain. If we have a rainy period, the trails will be muddy and hill climbing will be difficult for the less agile. Please be prepared. A collapsible walking stick can be useful.
We use small canoes almost every day paddled by one of the local staff. It can be a bit awkward getting into or out of the canoes, depending on water levels. The seats are made of wood, have backs and are usually cushioned.
Most days will be broken up into modules: we’ll go birding early in the morning returning before lunch, then a siesta, then spend some time in the canopy tower, and another birding excursion before dinner. A few of the days we’ll be longer away from the lodge and we’ll eat a boxed lunch on a forest trail or in a canoe.
ELEVATION: Quito is at about 9,000 feet in elevation and the airport and hotel is slightly higher. The tour itinerary takes place in the Amazon lowlands at about 1000 feet elevation.
CLIMATE: Quito has been called the city of eternal spring, and the climate there is crisp and cool with chilly nights and pleasantly warm days. Rain is possible, but sunburn is more likely. At La Selva in the Amazonian lowlands, we can expect occasional rain and warm, muggy days with cooler nights.
ACCOMMODATION: La Selva is a luxury jungle lodge. The cabins are constructed of bamboo and wood and have screened windows. Each has one king or two double beds with good mattresses and mosquito netting. Each has its own bathroom with sink, flush toilet, and shower. Hot water is available 24 hours a day. The cabins are all separate but are connected by a common walkway to the bar and dining room. The entire lodge has recently undergone a major renovation, and several cabins now include a hot tub on the patio, a wood drying box for electronics, and multiple sinks in the bathroom. Deluxe suites may be available upon request (at a surcharged rate). We should note that occasionally spiders, crickets, mice or tree frogs find their way into the bathrooms.
FOOD: Meals at La Selva are wonderful and run the gamut of international fare, and often include lots of vegetables, great soups, various salads and splendid desserts to accompany the fresh meat, chicken and fish. Vegetarians are easily accommodated, but please let us know your preference in advance.
SMOKING: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail.
GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF WINGS TOURS: Please take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions in the “About Our Tours” section of the WINGS website. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours, and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A more complete General Information for Tours to La Selva will be sent to each registrant on receipt of booking. Final Information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please let us know.
Updated: March 2014